Global shares up as investors remain wary of Brexit

MANILA, Philippines – Global shares mostly rose Wednesday as investors remained wary ahead of the vote on Britain’s possible exit from the European Union, but relieved that U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the Fed will remain cautious in raising interest rates.

KEEPING SCORE: Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.1 per cent to 6,232.87 in early trading. Germany’s DAX was up 0.3 per cent at 10,045.67, while France’s CAC 40 rose 0.2 per cent to 4,374.93. U.S. futures indicated a muted opening on Wall Street, with S&P futures nearly flat at 2,078.50 and Dow futures also almost unchanged at 17,727.00.

ASIA DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 closed down 0.6 per cent at 16,065.72. China’s Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.9 per cent to 2,905.55, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.6 per cent to 20,795.12. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 fell 0.1 per cent to 5,270.90, and South Korea’s KOSPI was up 0.5 per cent at 1,992.58. Southeast Asian markets were mostly up.

BRITAIN-EU: Campaigners on both sides of the crucial vote on whether or not Britain should remain in the European Union began the final frantic day of campaigning Wednesday, crisscrossing the country to make impassioned pleas to the undecided. Prime Minister David Cameron outlined his vision for a future with Britain remaining in the 28-nation bloc. He flatly rejected the notion that the institution was moribund.

ANALYST VIEWPOINT: “With the ‘undecided’ vote still at a significant level, the swing factor to either side continues to remain a real possibility,” Nicholas Teo, trading strategist at KGI Fraser Securities, said of Britain’s referendum, as a majority of polls showed the “remain” camp leading slightly over “leave” sentiment. “With the outcome still too close to call, traders have taken big bets off the table, riding only on small positions leftover.”

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 38 cents to $50.23 a barrel in New York. On Tuesday, it fell 52 cents, or 1.1 per cent, to $48.85 a barrel. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil prices, was up 26 cents at $50.88 a barrel in London. On Tuesday, it slipped 3 cents to $50.62 a barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 104.44 yen from 104.76 yen the previous day. The euro rose to $1.1274 from $1.1251 on Tuesday.